Michael McNeil, 7825 Charing Square, is completing his third year on the Affton School Board. McNeil, 41, and his wife Lynn have three children. They have lived in the district for six years. He is an electrical engineer/business owner with 20 years of business management experience. He is also a director on the Affton Basketball League, Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 200 and a volunteer for the St. Louis Science Center.
“With three children in the district, I am very motivated to pursue excellence in Affton schools,” McNeil said. “During the three years I have been on the board
we have been working through issues and establishing procedures to move Affton from being a ‘good’ district to being ‘great.’ Many of these issues are still in transition, and as economic difficulties come into play will be more challenging to achieve.
“As the longest sitting board member after this election, I feel my board experience, as well as management skills, are valuable in completing our goals of excellence,” he added.
“There are many initiatives that I am excited to continue pursuing in the process of moving Affton from “good” to “great,” McNeil said.
He said the board is working toward efficient technology renewal and recently approved “Project Lead the Way,” a pre-engineering program.
“We are continually working to improve student achievements,” he said, noting that the district has been “Accredited With Distinction” by the state every year he been on the board.
“We expect that to continue,” McNeil said. “Higher academic standards for athletes have resulted in more athletes being prepared to pursue higher education options.
“And I believe much can be achieved while handling the taxpayers’ money responsibly, as we have proven to date with consistent tax rollbacks,” McNeil added.
Christopher (Chris) Castellanos, 7729 New Hampshire, has lived in the Affton School District since 1999. He has been an attorney at Rosenblum, Goldenhersh, Silverstein & Zafft since 2003. He previously worked in video and multimedia for 10 years before getting his law degree at Washington University. In April he will join the adjunct faculty at Fontbonne University.
Castellanos, 42, a divorced father of two children, has been active in the Affton School District PTO serving as president in 2009/10 and vice president in 2008/09. He is also a member of the district Comprehensive School Improvement Program Steering Committee. He is also a member of the fundraising committee for the St. Louis Chapter of Foundation Fighting Blindness. Past volunteer activities include events to benefit KidSmart and moot court judge at Washington University Law School.
“I am seeking a position on the board because I have a strong interest in having the best schools possible, not only for the sake of my own children but for all Affton residents,” Castellanos said. “I want to work together with the other board members to continue the progress the district has made in the past few years, and to reach even higher achievements in the future.”
According to Castellanos, the main issue in the campaign is – and should be – the quality of the education that children receive at Affton schools.
“That absolutely takes precedence over every other issue,” he said. “I would work to raise the standards we use to measure our students, teachers, staff, and administrators in order to stress quality and accountability at all levels.”
Jason Slavik, 8100 New Hampshire Ave., has lived in the district for 10 years. Slavik, 34, and his wife Andrea, have two small children. He is an operations manager with a BSA in finance.
As an operations manager, I have experience managing revenues over $16 million,” Slavik said. He said he has successfully completed projects with the St. Louis Public Schools, USAF, plus national and regional general contractors.
He currently volunteers as a performance and expansion consultant to The Mission Continues TMC which unites veterans and fellow citizens in shared service to the nation.
Slavik wants the Affton School District to be held in high regard within the St. Louis area.
“If elected, I can leverage my experience to continue the great work the board has been doing,” he said. “A strong and regionally recognized school district adds value to the community that increases exponentially.”
“My goal is for the students and teachers of Affton School District to be among the best prepared regionally to compete in the face of a new and constantly changing environment,” he said. “The current board has done an excellent job creating the preliminary groundwork for this.
“I will work with fellow board members to achieve this goal through three primary activities: stewardship, communication, and benchmarking,” he added.
Slavik said if elected he would make sure that tax dollars are used effectively and efficiently.
“I will push for robust dialogue between administration and faculty to ensure everyone involved keeps sharp focus on the students and their education,” he said.
In addition, he said he would actively seek out better practices from other districts and institute those methods that fit the model of the strategic plan.”
Printed in the South County Times on April 2, 2010
Article by Marty Harris